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US House Passes Bill With $15M For CWD Research, Testing In States

Congressman Ron Kind Says Funding Needed To Deal With Wisconsin's 'Terrible Problem With CWD'

Carlos Osorio/AP Photo

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a spending bill that would send $15 million to state grants aimed at researching and testing for chronic wasting disease.

An amendment to an omnibus agriculture spending bill, co-authored by U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, Mark Veasey, D-Texas, Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, and Ralph Abraham, R-Louisiana, would redirect $12 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture funding toward grants for state CWD research and testing. The spending bill already allocated $3 million in federal funding for CWD grants.

Kind said the funding is needed to help Wisconsin address the fatal brain disease impacting whitetail deer in the state.

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“Wisconsin, right now, has a terrible problem with CWD,” said Kind. “It’s spreading. We need more research in how we can better contain it, the health implications of it and given the multi-million dollar industry that we have with hunting and outdoor recreation.”

The CWD grant funds still have to be approved by the U.S. Senate, but Kind said he’s optimistic the amendment will survive.

“I’m suspecting there’s going to be bipartisan support in the Senate just as we had bipartisan support in the House to have this account increased,” said Kind.

The congressman said he expects Wisconsin agencies dealing with CWD to get some of the funding if signed into law because of existing contracts with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. He said the funds could be used to help coordinate state research on the disease with similar efforts around the U.S.

“I think we need a more coordinated response to CWD research in light of the different state approaches, find out what work and research has already been conducted and where we need to build from there and who’s in the best position to do it,” said Kind.

There have been 5,261 cases of CWD confirmed in Wisconsin deer since the disease was first detected in the state in 2002.